California Literary Review

The Killing Recap: Donnie or Marie (Season 2, Episode 12)


June 11th, 2012 at 2:50 am

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Mitch Larsen (Michelle Forbes) in The Killing’s Donnie or Marie

Uncharacteristically, Mitch is depressed

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

The following will be a recap and review of The Killing‘s penultimate episode of its second (and seemingly final) season. As with the past 10 weeks- longer if you count my pieces on Terra Nova, Alcatraz, and The Office– my articles on episodic television have featured commentaries on the specific episode as well as my take on the series as a whole. These are and have always been critiques as much as recaps. I don’t see the point in merely providing rote recitations of what transpired during the previous hour.

Does this mean that my analysis will focus on the more negative? If the show warrants it. I’m not saying you need to agree with my interpretation of events, I am just honestly telling you what I thought of the episode. I have complimented The Killing on the various elements that I think work- the acting (particularly Brent Sexton this season), the cinematography, the tone, the direction, etc. And I am willing to overlook a lot of the more unrealistic things despite The Killing‘s purported “realism” being one of its main selling points. But this doesn’t mean that I am going to ignore the things that I don’t think work or that I find silly (like the YouTube thing from Bulldog).

Including tonight’s “highly confidential” installment entitled Donnie or Marie, we have two episodes left before this season ends. My format will not change, but I hope you continue reading.

If you are utterly baffled by this introduction, please check out the comments section for last week’s episode Bulldog.

Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) in The Killing’s Donnie or Marie

The newly snarky Sarah Linden

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

We are now officially less than one week from when we finally learn Who Killed Rosie Larsen, and tonight’s episode ratchets up the tension as we approach our destination. I felt it was a solid episode that decently moves our three main storylines into end game.

I thought the opening was well done as Holder and Linden corner the mayor about the key card and declare their willingness to forget about the picture he faked in exchange for getting everyone off their backs as they solve the Rosie Larsen murder. I though Linden showed that determined nature that I always felt eluded her character. Although I don’t personally believe Linden’s promise to make the picture disappear, I would like to think that she was being honest. Her willingness to prioritize types of justice would add an extra layer of depth to the character and the show, but I doubt she’s going to sabotage an entire campaign based on the presumption that a person working on its staff might have killed Rosie Larsen. She’s still the hero, and I don’t see this show as the type to let her subscribe to the dark side.

Afterward, Holder and Linden go into investigation overdrive. The scenes in the car where they’re discussing the case shows that their partnership has finally become a partnership and not just Linden annoyed that she had to bring Holder along. Also, Linden has developed a cockiness about her that makes the character more bearable. Maybe she needed to start smoking cigarettes again.

Throughout the episode, they discover that Michael Ames was on the ferry at the time of the murder, that he did some deal involving the Waterfront that double crossed his far wealthier wife and the mayor, and that Jaime used his sway to fast track official documents as an enticement for Ames to throw his money behind Richmond. Additionally, Gwen lost her key card the night Rosie was dead, drove the Rosie Larsen Death Car, and attended some important Wapi Indian Casino event years prior. All of these elements combined lead the detectives to wonder if they both killed Rosie. Also, Chief Jackson has a tendency to break her “girlfriend’s” hands, so her violent tendencies also raises her viability as a suspect. After receiving security footage of the casino, Linden and Holder see that Jaime was at the casino the night Rosie died, and the episode ends with a powerful (overbearing?) score playing as Jaime looks evil in the blue glow of a security camera from weeks ago.

Mayor Lesley Adams (Tom Butler) and Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) in The Killing

Political battle.

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

Elsewhere in Seattle, it’s Election Day (neither Linden nor Holder vote), and Richmond is worried about the results. We don’t find out the winner of the mayoral election tonight, but Richmond goes over to the house of whom I presume is Ted Wright, the maybe/maybe not amputee whose inspirational story, as related by Jaime, convinced the then-hospital bed bound candidate to remain in the race. Wright appears to be villainous, and he definitely holds a lot of secrets, but we won’t find out his deal until next week.

As usual, the Larsens are divorced from the rest of the goings on, but tonight provides the start of a much-needed emotional catharsis with the long lingering issues going on between the two heads of the family. After Mitch expresses her desire to stay in the current Larsen home, Stan and Mitch have a heated conversation about her abandoning her family and how Stan is every much Rosie’s father as Mitch is her mother. Also, Mitch cries and looks sad. Terry also cries and looks sad. And Stan punches something and looks sad.

Nevertheless, I feel relatively confident that Jaime is not the killer. Like with last year and All Signs Point To Richmond, the show has made Jaime such an obvious suspect, that he becomes obviously not the culprit. I also still believe that the blood on the key card will not be Rosie’s and will play a part in the conclusion. So, before we learn the answer to the question that was first posed on April 03, 2011, I’m going to make my final choice… Terry. Linden’s comment at the start of the episode about the attack being personal and probably done by a woman combined with the way this show loves making the Larsen’s life a living hell, along with a number of other factors, makes her the best fit.

Additional Thoughts:

• The Mayor knew the picture wouldn’t stand up in court but thought it would stop Richmond from winning the election. Even after Mayor Adams was elected, he could still be charged with crimes related to the faking of that picture. At the very least, the public wouldn’t trust him after learning that he framed his opponent for murder. Rosie was found dead in the drunk of one of Richmond’s campaign car. That would be enough to plant some questions in the voters’ heads. Don’t get involved, don’t panic. The same type of overreaction happened when the Wapi Indian Casino attacked Holder.

• I don’t like them calling this part one of a two part season finale as a way to bolster its importance. It’s no different from a typical The Killing episode.

  • Bill

    I’ll be glad to see this painful series end. It started off so well last year, I even enjoyed the finale.

    The pacing fell apart this year and just too many red herrings thrown in. It almost seemed like the writers hadn’t really planned out the story arc.

    The two leads are sympathetic characters but I’ll be glad this show is over.

  • Hem Gray

    Like you, I suspect a swerve and am suspicious of Terri given her connection to Ames. I wonder if there’s really enough space for a credible twist at this point, though. 40+ minutes really isn’t a lot of time to reveal the killer, apprehend him (them?), show the family’s reaction, and resolve the mayoral race. If the next episode does end up being the series finale, I anticipate some lingering plotlines will remain unresolved.

  • Edelase

    Black thong in the laundry, gotta be Terri!

  • Cromulent

    I’m a bit surprised that the episode title didn’t come in for some analysis. Donnie or Marie? That has to be a reference to “Donnie and Marie”. As in The Osmonds. The episode’s focus is on either Jaime or Gwen, then the possibility – which Linden seems slow to realize – that Jaime & Gwen teamed up; Donnie AND Marie.

    Of course Donnie & Marie were related. Siblings. Gwen & Jaime work manage the campaign together but I suspect there is another dynamic to their relationship that will be revealed next week. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Jaime invited Gwen into the campaign in part to provide companionship to a heartbroken Darren.

  • Opinionless

    Still believe that it’s Terry, though as part of a tragic misunderstanding. Fully theory here:

  • Bill

    While not the main plotline, it bothers me that Mitch can come home after everything she has done and there isn’t even more bitterness toward her than what was expressed. And I wonder how Stan and the others would react to knowing that while his wife was on her road trip as her husband struggled to keep the family together, she took time out to cheat on Mitch with a stranger she picked up in a motel bar. Veena Sud seems to have treated that incident as a trivial matter because it was just Mitch needing to relieve her pain or some such BS. Or perhaps Sud thought the kiss that Stan shared with Mitch’s sister “evened things up.” Mitch was a man whose wife had abandoned him and their kids at a critical time and who ignored his repeated attempts to contact her. Meanwhile, Mitch’s sister, Terry, fills in as a mother to his kids. Under those circumstances, how could he not have some intimate feelings for Terry? So I don’t agree that what he did even comes close to Mitch’s act of infidelity. But Sud is apparently going to let Mitch get away with it and I can’t help but think that decision may be a little gender biased.

  • MK

    What about the Wexler thread? He was into beau soleil girls and had Jamie over to indulge. He has to factor in somehow, no?

  • Lydia


    Your recaps are the very reason I kept watching “The Killing” and the first thing I read on Monday mornings. They are brilliant!


    I also think it’s Terry but with Michael Ames as her accomplice. It was a guy that killed her.

  • Bill

    Hmm, it’s hard to rule anybody completely out as the killer, but Rosie’s aunt? If she helped kill her and can still spend all that time around Mitch and Stan watching them go threw day after day of gut-wrenching anguish without showing the slighest hint of guilt, that would be astonishing. So I just don’t see her as the murderer oreven the murderer’s accomplish. I have always thought that Tom Drexler had something to do with Rosie’s death. The guy is rich so he can pay off a lot of people to keep quiet. And he’s a real creep who has a taste for young girls. I’ll put my money on him.

  • DiamondDavey

    Brett, I think your Terry theory is a sound one. If it turns out to be Ames or someone from the Richmond camp, the response would be a big yawn. But imagine the reaction from Stan and Mitch–and the two boys–if it’s Terry!

    Also, Brett, I just wanted to thank you for the blog. I DVR the show, watch it Mon or Tues night, and I always read your blog immediately afterwards. Great stuff! Love the well-placed drops of sarcasm and wit.

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